Even slight reductions in weight can have a significant, positive impact on the health of overweight individuals. A lot of people think that in order to have any health benefits associated with weight loss they have to look like an aerobic instructor. But studies have shown that even a modest amount of weight loss of 5% to 10% -- providing that you keep it off -- is going to have very nice health benefits in the years ahead.
Americans who are overweight probably encompass more than half of the adult population. Many overweight or obese individuals believe that only a drastic reduction in body weight can prompt improvements in health. But the study findings reveal that losing even a small amount of weight produces significant health benefits.
There were significant economic benefits linked to weight loss, as well. According to the researchers, individuals who lose 10% of total body weight -- and keep the weight off -- can expect to save about $5,200 in medical costs over the course of their lifespan. These costs include expenditures that would have otherwise been spent treating hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, or a number of other obesity-related conditions.
American Journal of Public Health, October 1999COMMENT: See comment above.